Three of Sweden’s largest operators — Kindred, the Swedish Horse Racing Totalisator Board (ATG) and state-owned Svenska Spel — have agreed to share key problem gambling consumer data every six months.
The data will cover what percentage of customers have been contacted as a result of risky behaviour, what percent reduce their gambling as a result of the intervention, how much these people reduce their gambling on average and what percentage of the players contacted choose to stop gambling.
A report on the figures will be presented at the beginning of next year.
A spokesperson for the Swedish Gambling Authority (SGA) said “it is good that this issue is being raised”.
The SGA also clarified that it has “no requirements for this to be reported”.
Gustaf Hoffstedt, the CEO of the online trade group BOS, similarly welcomed the "truly inspirational" initiative.
"They have expressed a wish that more operators join, and I share that wish. It’s an important step towards transparency and improved future measures of consumer protection," Hoffstedt said.
However, Spelforskning.se, a website that hosts research and blogs on various aspects of problem gambling, highlighted that “many of the proposals are things that they are already required to/will likely be required to report”.
“A big question mark is also how they will identify [at-risk] players. The system that at least Kindred uses today does not stand up to closer scrutiny, to put it mildly,” Spelforskning.se wrote.
Despite the criticism, the research website did acknowledge that “there is a better arrangement of gambling responsibility work today than before the reregulation in 2019”.
Patrik Hofbauer, president and CEO of Svenska Spel, explained in a blog post on October 26 that the collaborative move is designed to “restore trust” in the Swedish gambling industry by improving transparency.
Hofbauer and the other operators hope this will encourage “a more fact-based discussion about gambling and gambling problems”.
Maris Catania, Kindred’s head of responsible gaming and research, said in an interview on the operator’s website that the project will go beyond improving transparency.
“By managing to identify the revenue from harmful gambling, one can also monitor and assess whether such interventions and measures are contributing to better revenue,” Catania said.
The collaboration comes after Kindred began publishing the percentage of its revenues it derives from players showing signs of harmful gambling in 2021.
In Kindred’s Q2 update, there was a slight increase from 3.3 percent to 3.78 percent of revenue derived from these players.
“This increase highlights the need to improve our technological efforts and work on more real-time detection and close-to-real-time interventions,” Catania said.
The announcement follows Kindred’s Sustainable Gambling Conference on October 19, during which the CEO of ATG, Hans Lord Skarplöth, explained on a panel that “society does not trust us and we deserve that. But I know we are better than we are perceived.”
Skarplöth went on to say that the “guiding principle of safer gambling is a conscious decision by our customers”.
“Players should set their limits. I think it's completely wrong that a state sets the limit. Safe gambling starts with the customer. It is important at an early stage to warn customers of the risk, and be transparent. That is part of our responsibility,” Skarplöth said.